Testing broadheads before archery hunting


Trying to be the man my dog thinks I am.
Mar 8, 2011
San Diego, Ca.
Taken from the Q&A page on the California DFG website:

Testing broadheads before archery hunting

Question: I have a question about a new broadhead I’ve found and whether I can use them to hunt big game in California. They are sold in 100 grains, have a one-inch cutting diameter and are advertised to fly very accurately.

If the blades are made of razor wire, does this make them illegal? If the blades bend and flex when pushed through a hole, are they then illegal? Should the test be done with a metal sheet or wood?

I just want to have all my ducks in a row before I purchase these broadheads for my own use. (Tyler Audisio)

Answer: To be legal in California, broadheads must meet the criteria specified in the Mammal Hunting Regulations booklet under section 354. According to retired Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Capt. Phil Nelms, for the take of big game, hunting arrows and crossbow bolts with a broadhead-type blade which will not pass through a hole seven-eighths inch in diameter shall be used.

The one-inch cutting diameter hole you mention sounds promising. The test, though, is exactly what it does when it starts to penetrate. It’s reasonable to assume it holds it shape. How else would it make a one-inch hole? But, before you spend a lot of money, you will need to get one and see if it passes the test.

The razor wire blades do not make it illegal. The standard established in the Mammal Regulations book under section 354(c) says, “… will not pass through a hole 7/8 inch in diameter …” The regulation does not specify the material containing the hole. However, in the Fish and Game Academy, game wardens are taught to use a piece of paper with the required size hole cut in the paper. To test your broadhead, use a piece of paper with a 7/8 inch diameter hole cut in the paper. If the arrow head can be passed through the hole without cutting the paper, it is too small and is not legal. Or to put it another way, if the arrow head cannot be passed through the hole without cutting the paper, then it is legal.

The only additional guideline is that “retractable blades” must be in the open position when conducting the test. The flexibility of the wire in this type of broadhead would not seem to be an important consideration, unless they hang limp when not in flight, which seems highly unlikely.

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